Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/609

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THE PRESENT ASPECT OF MEDICAL EDUCATION.

railroad employés and their families in sickness or grave infirmities, or wounds entailing incapacity for work, old age, death, and the promotion of culture and habits of thrift and industry. Many of these societies reach further than mere relief, and provide for the moral and intellectual training and entertainment of their members and their children; aid them in acquiring and embellishing properties, and exercising a controlling influence in the councils of the nation in all matters of legislation affecting the working-men; they have elevated their members' conditions from servitude and poverty to independence and prosperity, and in other ways have exercised a paternal care and supervision over their interests. Early recognizing in such societies an agency potent to improve alike the secular estate and the moral, physical, and intellectual condition of their employés, and also understanding that easy circumstances and contentment develop increased usefulness in all walks of life—in none more so than in railroad service—the English railways, by liberal and judicious encouragement of such enterprises, have practically relieved themselves from many onerous burdens under which nearly all our companies are still suffering.

[To be continued.]

 

THE PRESENT ASPECT OF MEDICAL EDUCATION.
By WILLIAM GILMAN THOMPSON, M. D.

THERE is no branch of education which attracts so little public interest and support as proper medical instruction, yet no one would gainsay the necessity that, if there are to be physicians at all, the community should be guaranteed that they have been most thoroughly trained.

It is not so very long since an air of mystery, which no laymen would attempt to penetrate, enveloped the art of medicine. It required generations to separate medical practice from alchemy, astrology, and the search for the elixir of life. The traditions and influence of Hippocrates and of Sydenham lasted well into the past century, and down to 1750 almost all of the scanty medical literature was in Latin, and the gradually accumulating facts of observation were still too little systemized to be weaned from an admixture of the most unreasonable speculation and pseudo-philosophic discussion. As late as 1784 the condition of medical education in the United States was most rudimentary, and for some time thereafter dissections of the human body could only be made by stealth.[1] The functions of physician, nurse, apothecary,[2] and often, too, of pastor, farmer, dentist, and

  1. See McMaster's "History of the People of the United States," vol. i, pp. 27-31.
  2. "Life of Dr. John Warren," p. 314.